Brinklow Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameBrinklow Castle
Alternative NamesBrinklo
Historic CountryWarwickshire
Modern AuthorityWarwickshire
1974 AuthorityWarwickshire
Civil ParishBrinklow

Earthworks of moated mount and court type, occupying the highest point, near the western extremity of a short elevated ridge running E-W. The mount has a diameter at the base of 260', and has a flat top 50' across. It rises 60' from the bottom of the 40' wide, 20' deep ditch which surrounds it. To the west of the mount lie two courts, an inner and an outer, separated from each other by a ditch and rampart, but both enclosed within a great ditch and inner rampart which branches laterally from that which surrounds the mount. It is doubtful if any of the 3 entrances into the courts are ancient; possibly the original entrance was near the northern corner of the work where a small mound exists upon the rampart. Local tradition in Dugdale's time preserved the memory of a keep here, but no masonry has ever been found. Roman coins, including one of Valens (A.D. 364-78) were found in the north ditch of the bailey by F.W.S.Tulett when digging in the schoolhouse garden in 1932. (VCH; Chatwin) The outer bailey is additional to the inner, and the N. and S. ramparts of the latter have been increased in height, presumably when the addition was made. At its S. end the W. ditch of the inner bailey appears to curve in under the rampart, suggesting that in its original form it was more nearly rectangular than at present, and this is borne out by the unnecessary thickness of the base of the S. rampart. It is not impossible that the inner bailey incorporated the western half of a small Ro. posting station the rest of which would have been destroyed or covered by the motte; but in view of the place name ('Low' element) and the fact that the road from the S. is sighted on the motte, it seems more likely that before the castle was built there was a natural hillock there, possibly with a barrow on top. (G. Webster and B.A. Stanley, 17-5-56, oral communication)

The motte and bailey castle in Brinklow is a good example of this type of monument and it survives very well

The castle occupied a site of significant strategic importance on the Fosse Way and is associated with the campaigns of William the Conqueror. The early abandonment of the site and the lack of modern development will ensure that early archaeological deposits will survive undisturbed at the castle site. These artefactual and structural deposits will provide evidence for the economy of the castle's inhabitants.

The monument is situated to the east of St John the Baptist's Church in the village of Brinklow and includes the motte and double bailey castle and an area of ridge and furrow cultivation. The motte and bailey castle is situated in a commanding position on a short elevated ridge running east-west. It was built to command the line of the Fosse Way, a former Roman road of considerable military importance in the medieval period. The castle is surrounded and strengthened by a ditch which measures up to 18m wide. The motte is located at the eastern end of the bailey and has been artificially raised. The flat-topped motte has a diameter of 79m at its base and is 15m high. It is surrounded by a ditch, 12m wide which separates the motte from the bailey to the west. The northern section of the motte ditch has been slightly damaged by the construction of Ell Lane. To the west of the motte lies the double bailey. These two enclosures are bounded by a single ditch which is a maximum of 25m wide and up to 4m deep in places. The ditch has been partly destroyed by earth digging along the NW boundary of the site. There are earthen banks within the enclosing ditch around both baileys which rise to 3m in height at the angles. The bailey is divided into inner and outer enclosures by a ditch which is up to 16m wide. The two enclosures vary both in size and form. The inner covers an area of 0.33ha and is an irregular oblong in plan, while the outer bailey has a triangular plan and covers an area of 0.45ha. In the northern part of the outer bailey is a small mound with a diameter of 10m. Access into the castle is by means of a causeway in the central part of the outer bailey's western defences. It is aligned with the causeway between the two bailey enclosures and may mark the site of the original entrance to the castle. To the south, south east and east of the motte and bailey castle are the earthwork remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. The ridge and furrow immediately to the east and south east of the motte defines a triangular enclosure attached to the castle. There is no surface evidence of defensive earthworks in this area and it may therefore have been used for agricultural purposes. This triangular area is included in the scheduling. The ridge and furrow respects the castle defences and provides a stratigraphic relationship between the motte and bailey castle and the land use of the surrounding area. A 10m wide sample area of ridge and furrow to the east, south and south east of the castle site is included in the scheduling in order to preserve this relationship. The motte and bailey castle in Brinklow is thought to have been associated with William the Conqueror's northern campaigns in 1069. Its position on the Fosse Way and the fact that the castle is located almost halfway between the castles of Warwick and Leicester suggests that it was one of a number of castles built at strategic points on the Fosse Way. The site was in the hands of the Earl of Meulan in the late 11th century and later given to Nigel de Albany, the first of the Mowbrays. Its occupation as a castle, however, is thought to have ceased at an early period. (Scheduling Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSP438795
Latitude52.4125518798828
Longitude-1.35640001296997
Eastings443870
Northings279570
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Copyright E Gammie and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 256
  • Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 35
  • Salter, Mike, 1992, Castles and Moated Mansions of Warwickshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 21
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 481
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 194
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 117
  • Salzman, L.F. (ed), 1951, VCH Warwickshire Vol. 6 p. 42 online transcription
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Willoughby Gardner, 1904, 'Ancient Defensive Earthworks' in Doubleday, H.A. and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Warwickshire Vol. 1 p. 360-2 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 346 online copy

Antiquarian

  • Dugdale, Wm., 1656, The Antiquities of Warwickshire (Thomas Warren) p. 142-3 online copy
  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 477
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 11 online copy

Journals

  • Speight, Sarah, 2004, ''Religion in the Bailey: Charters, Chapels and the Clergy' Cha^teau Gaillard Vol. 21 p. 271-80
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Chatwin, P.B., 1947-8, 'Castles in Warwickshire' Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society Vol. 67 p. 4-6
  • Chatwin, P.B., 1936, Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society Vol. 60 p. 152
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 213 online copy
  • W(hitley), 1884, The Builder Vol. 47 p. 47-8
  • Clark, G.T., 1878, 'The earthworks of Brinklow, Lilbourne, and Earl's Barton' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 35 p. 112-17 online copy
  • Burgess, J.T., 1873, 'Ancient British Remains and Earthworks in the Forest of Arden' Journal of the British Archaeological Association p. 40 online copy
  • Burgess, 1872, Birmingham and Midlands Institute Archaeology Section p. 85
  • Burgess, 1871, Birmingham and Midlands Institute Archaeology Section p. 16 (plate only)

Primary Sources